Putting the Kids First When Divorcing

By Laura Fabiano 

I often hear “I cannot get divorced as it will destroy the kids.” And as a result many people remain in stressful or loveless marriages. While some can make this situation work, at times a marriage reaches a point where it can no longer be sustained.  A home with constant stress and tension can result in more emotional issues for children than a separation. Divorce mediators can assist you in making the separation with as little impact on the kids as is possible.  

divorce and childrenMediators want to help you reach as amicable a settlement as can be reached. Most parents would agree that the well-being of the kids comes first. This starts with a fair parenting plan where both parents are happy with the schedule as well as the children. At the table with a mediator, the parents can hash out various options and discuss them with each other. Calendars can be used as a visual to see what the schedule will look like over a month or several months. The key here is the parents are together and communicating on the spot about their concerns or approval of a proposed schedule. If children are of an age where they understand the situation, the parents can share what the kids think is a good idea. By the time the judge reviews the agreement, the parents have had time to go over many options and feel confident they both have had a say in the final proposal.

Mediators will assist the parents in the calculations of child support which is often determined by a formula provided by the state. Sitting at the same table, parents can see the numbers together and discuss how it will work. All possible future decisions can be discussed such as tuition, camps, etc. to prevent awkward situations for the children down the road.

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The distribution of property and finances can also impact the children. Again, mediation allows the parents to discuss fair options and pursue various scenarios in the distribution. Perhaps a discussion needs to ensue regarding keeping the home with one parent for the benefit of the children. While in the same room, the parents can figure out how to make this fair for both parties. Mediation also provides a more cost-effective way to separate, thus leaving more money to care for the children.

The bottom line is in mediation the parents have total control over the outcome and can leave it knowing they had every opportunity to make a decision they both feel benefits the children. One parent is not trying to “beat the other parent in the settlement” in mediation – a situation that often results in the children not coming first. Instead, they are working together to ensure the children are provided for in the best possible manner.

In addition, they have had practice at the mediation table communicating with one another about all the above issues, and will better be able to communicate and parent together while living apart. Co-parenting while divorced can and does happen. The children are happier and more secure knowing that their parents are both still putting them first no matter what the circumstance.

To learn more about divorce mediation, schedule a consultation with a mediator or contact Josh Hoch, MWI’s Director of Mediation Services at 617-895-4028 or jhoch@mwi.org.

Laura Fabiano Divorce MediatorAbout the Author

Laura Fabiano is a divorce and family mediator with MWI. She strives to make divorce a peaceful transition for the parties and minimize any stress in the process. Laura helps her clients find the best options for child custody and parenting plans and has a good understanding of how the various options can best benefit the children in the transition.

To request additional information about MWI Mediator Laura Fabiano, click here.